Read Sharpe's Fortress by Bernard Cornwell Online

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Promoted for his gallantry in the war against India's rebellious Mahratta confederacy, Richard Sharpe is uncomfortable with his newfound authority --- and embroiled in his own private campaign. The unmistakable scent of treason is leading him to Gawilghur, a impenetrable fortress in the sky and the last refuge of desperate enemies of all dark stripes. And as the army of SiPromoted for his gallantry in the war against India's rebellious Mahratta confederacy, Richard Sharpe is uncomfortable with his newfound authority --- and embroiled in his own private campaign. The unmistakable scent of treason is leading him to Gawilghur, a impenetrable fortress in the sky and the last refuge of desperate enemies of all dark stripes. And as the army of Sir Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, prepares to lay siege to the stronghold high above the Deccan Plain. Sharpe will risk his honor, reputation, and fortune on a battle that will test him as never before....

Title : Sharpe's Fortress
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780061012716
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 400 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Sharpe's Fortress Reviews

  • David
    2019-03-01 05:29

    This historical novel is the third in the series about Ensign Richard Sharpe, a soldier in the British army. The story takes place in India in 1803. Sharpe is a good, strong soldier, a decent human being. Unfortunately, he encounters people who are not so decent. The book is fast-paced, detailed, and give a great feeling about what it was like to be in the army two hundred years ago. It was hard, dirty, painful, hot, and sometimes lonely. Sharpe recently became an officer, but was never really accepted by his fellow officers because he earned the promotion through merit, rather than being born into the upper class. Nevertheless, Sharpe seems to be enjoying himself, in a very strange way.I didn't read this book; I listened to the audiobook. William Gaminara is the narrator, and he is a fabulous actor. With his excellent accents and good pacing, his reading made the book very enjoyable!

  • Tim The Enchanter
    2019-03-01 22:08

    A Masterfully Executed 5 Stars Random Ramblings After being disappointed by the previous book in the series,Sharpe's Fortressdoes not leave you wanting. While it's predecessor fails to provide sufficient detail of a famous battle, this novels lets you live the pain, drama and excitement of what has been called by some as a mere footnote to history. If you read Sharpe's Triumph and considered putting the series aside, please read this one before making your final decision.This book receives a high recommendation from me. While it is part of a series, I believe it could be read on its own. While some of the characters reoccur, there is some background information given on previous dealings with those characters which help to reorient the readers of the series or inform the first time reader. Plot summary The majority of the book deals with the British assault on the fortress of Gawilghur in India. This fortress was considered to be impregnable and the assault on it was considered a fools errand. Having been given an officer commission by Arthur Wellesley, Ensign Richard Sharpe learns how difficult the transition from uncommissioned field soldier to commissioned officer can be. As in the previous novels, Sharpe is forced to deal with his rivals, Obadiah Hawkeswill, Major Dodd and an old foe in the shape of Major Morris reappears. The battles of the fortress and old rival commands the majority of the book. The Good The read lives the battle at Gawilghur. You are made to feel the hopelessness of the task at hand and are treated to masterfully crafted detail of the planning of the assault all the way to the thrilling conclusion. From reading the afterwards, Cornwell gives the impression that the battle of Gawilghur was treated as a minor and insignificant event. This may simply have been a result of the manner in which the battle concluded. Cornwell is again masterful in his description of the action. The pace is brisk and siege is fully explored. I walked away from the book feeling as if I had a sense of what could have take place during the siege. The story unfold masterfully. This is HF action written at its best.In this installment, the character of Richard Sharpe is more fully developed. The character is forced to deal with emotions and the anger and disappointment that when your dreams do not unravel as planned. The Bad As this is one of my few 5 Stars, I do not have much bad to say. My only real criticism is that some elements of the book have become formulaic after 3 books, fight Hawkswill, find a woman, make unlikely friends with some kid. That said, these elements do not form a major portion of the story and do not detract from the novel as a whole.Content AdvisoriesIt is difficult to find commentary on the sex/violence/language content of book if you are interested. I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading. *Disclaimer* I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as I read. I am simply giving approximations.Scale 1 - Lowest 5 - Highest Sex-2.5 The majority of the story takes place on an active battlefield and sex does not play a significant role. There are several references to prostitutes in the story but no graphic discussions or descriptions. One character has a penchant for lounging completely naked but again, there is nothing graphic. A sexual encounter is implied on one occasion without any detail save that the parties were unclothed. Language-2 There is some minor use of adult language. The main character will swear from time to time but as a rule he tends to avoid it. Violence-4 Again, violence plays a key role in the book. There are hundreds of deaths in the story and many are moderately graphic and several more so. There are several instances where persons are murdered outside of the course of the battle and at least one is quite graphic as it involves a staged fight to the death. If you seek to avoid violence in your reading, this book will not be for you.

  • Jim
    2019-03-13 06:28

    I liked the PBS series & found the books very enjoyable, but as an audio book, it really shined. Cornwell's historical afterwords, which set straight any inaccuracies, are wonderful, too. But take my star rating with a grain of salt. I didn't find this book quite as good as the others I've read, just liked it in this format better. The story suffered from quite a bit of repetition at times. For instance, the area they assaulted must have been described half a dozen times until it not only bored, but confused me. There were several other points & motivations that were hammered half to death, too.Sharpe's actions & motivations didn't always ring true. He was too cavalier in some situations & too untrusting in others. Still, if I just went with it, the story was excellent. As usual, Cornwell made the time, situation, & landscape pop into a realistic whole that practically transported me. I can't wait to see if the library has the next one & plan to 'read' more of Cornwell's books like this. He has quite a few that I've heard great things about.

  • Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
    2019-03-07 22:11

    I didn't think I'd much care for a battle story but it was more than just that and held my attention throughout. Also, Gawilghur was a battle in the Maratha Wars that I didn't really know anything about so it gave me an insight into that as well. One oddity was the references to Tipu Sultan as 'the Tippoo' in a couple of instances since as far as I know his name (not his title) was Tipu!

  • John Caviglia
    2019-03-07 03:15

    As I have been devouring a Sharpe a week, it is perhaps time to comment, for after this third volume the hero of the series is at last leaving India…. I must admit to being somewhat disappointed in Cornwall at first, but largely—on reflection—because he is not Patrick O’Brian … and I can hardly fault him for what he shares with the rest of the human race. O’Brianian expectations as to prose and scope set aside, Cornwall writes taut and tightly plotted novels, rich in necessary historical detail, about a conflict in a time and place I knew next to nothing about. The result has been, for me, engrossing, and I’ve determined to flesh out the backdrop to these Sharpes by seeking out a history of the British in India at the turn of the century. I’m also now intrigued by the Duke of Wellington…. Cornwall is a master of what Dumas did so brilliantly (and shamelessly) with the three musketeers … namely, have peripheral (never having existed) heroes play key roles in major historical events (or not, as when barely failing to avert the beheading of Charles I by tunneling to beneath his scaffold). Thus, Sharpe brings about the fall of the eponymous fortress of this third volume almost singlehandedly—a ghost from the fictional future assuring the actual future career of the Duke of Wellington…. All this takes a certain letting go of disbelief … but no real complaint, as I did this long ago with the divine Dumas. That said, Sharpe’s tales have a much more contemporary flavor, and not only in the terseness of the language, carnage of the action and sometimes suspect sensationalism (as, when Indian janni “religious musclemen” drive enormous nails into the heads of condemned men with their bare hands). What I sense is the creeping of modern super-heroism into the adventures and misadventures of this child of a London whore avoided by every musket ball.… Not criticizing. Definitely not grousing. Just some perspective on why I’m popping “Sharpe’s” like peanuts, happy that there are lots more in the bag.

  • Nate
    2019-03-10 22:05

    More reliably fun Sharpe stuff, this one concludes the trilogy of Sharpe's adventures in India with Sharpe confronting the seemingly unassailable fort of Gawilghur. Of course, the "impenetrable fortress" is a fun and familiar Cornwell plot element (I think my first one was Dunholm from Lords of the North) and you can be sure Sharpie doesn't mill about outside the walls kicking the dirt for 300 pages, although he still doesn't make enough puns on his own surname enough for me. Thusly this book focuses more on the siege aspect of land warfare of the time, which remarkably was very similar to what I read in another Cornwell novel set in the middle ages, Agincourt; you just shoot a big gun at what looks like the most forgiving part of the wall to cross until it collapses and then just run in with a bunch of guys and stab everyone to death. Obviously a book about this kind of thing is gonna be fun, right?The Sharpe-Hakeswill death struggle continues on in more fascinating ways in this one. Some of the nastiest deeds in the series yet are perpetrated by both sides and it's just gross fun. Sharpe is not tolerating people's shit in this book and sometimes he even comes off as meaner than Hakeswill. That said, as fun as these two are the others in this book seemed kind of bland. I'm thinking back and I can't even remember some of these people's names, even though I finished the book last night. I don't know, maybe that's a testament more to my godawful memory than Cornwell's characters. I'm not even sure why Clare Wall was even in this book, the romance part was silly and she was utterly boring. As interesting and multifaceted as Cornwell can make his female characters (as in his Arthur stuff) sometimes he insists on including the bland damsel in distress with big doe eyes and it's just really dull. I'd rather just have those twenty pages of "romance" be Sharpe kicking people in the groin while calling them "sodding bastards". And I've dug myself into a horrible paragraph pit here and I don't feel like coming up with a segue.Cornwell's writing, for me, most often breaks down into two groups; the fun but relatively shallow adventure stuff and the stuff where he's more inspired to deeper themes, characterization, plot, description, etc. This is obviously in the first group but they're both satisfying in their own ways. Man, these books are addicting. It's so easy to just pick one up and finish it in a sitting or two. Sharpe's utter lack of Mary-Sueness seems to keep it interesting every time. Next is Sharpe's Trafalgar. That should be fun, as I know embarrassingly little about naval stuff. Apparently Trafalgar was a big deal or something...?

  • Brad
    2019-03-17 00:23

    Perhaps my four stars is because I just finished and hated The Amber Spyglass, elevating Sharpe's Fortress to something greater than it was, but I think it is a lot more likely that I am just a fan of a good old-fashioned yarn full of action, one ethically complicated character and one truly nasty and imbalanced villain. Sharpe's Fortress has all that and Bernard Cornwell's muscular prose to boot. Now I don't want to go all gooey over Cornwell's Sharpe series, it is nowhere near the quality of O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series (at least I don't think so as I get ready to start book four in chronological order), but as historical novels this series is definitely a leader in the second tier.The main reason is that "ethically complicated character" I mentioned. Richard Sharpe, currently Ensign in His Majesty's Infantry, is a bit of a bastard, but maybe it's better to say he's a bastard with a heart of rubies. He is capable of brutality that even some Nazis would have found difficult to engage in, but he is also equally capable of mercy, heroism, wit, wisdom and an hyperactive class consciousness. He is no Luke Skywalker style do-gooder. He is in the world for himself and those precious few he deems worthy of his friendship and often misplaced trust. There is no higher cause that motivates Sharpe beyond the higher cause of sticking it to those bastards in the orphanage that made his life hell. So anyone who screws Sharpe, particularly the psychotic Obadiah Hakeswill needs must beware. He will get you and screw you right back exponentially.I almost said this "ain't Shakespeare," but then I rethought that. It is very Shakespearean. Take Shakespeare's history plays and crank them out for beach reading and you've got The Richard Sharpe Series. Some books in the series promise to be better than Sharpe's Fortress, and some will undoubtedly suck in comparison, but it is definitely a series worth putting my reading time into. Sharpe's Trafalgar next. I can't wait.

  • Ensiform
    2019-02-24 23:09

    The third book in the series, a direct sequel to Sharpe's Triumph. Still in India (1803), Sharpe takes part in the brief battle of Argaum before performing a heroic pivotal role in the siege of the supposedly impregnable fort at Gawilghur. Sharpe is still in pursuit of the traitor Dodd, but his old enemy Hakesswill is on Sharpe’s trail, so treachery is everywhere.This is very fine historical fiction. Cornwell knows how to recreate the past; every character, no matter how brief his stay will turn out to be, is presented as if he will be a long-term concern, with foibles, motives and distinguishing characteristics. The mechanics of the 1803 weaponry are presented with as much meticulous attention to detail as are the politics and rivalries between officers, companies and armies in India. In short, it brings the period to life in a vivid and colorful way, adding intrigue and suspense to the mix deftly. I do wonder, though, how likely it is that Sharpe could beat Captain Morris, his superior officer, half to death (Morris waits for orders rather than allow Sharpe to go off on his own initiative to scale the walls, and this enrages Sharpe) and get away with it. (Sharpe also murders a corrupt captain in the night --- no, he’s no by-the-book noble hero!) At times the action is over the top with distinct shades of James Bond (the deathtraps like fighting jettis in an arena, seducing one girl after another, etc), but of course that’s what Cornwell has set out to do. My one quibble is that Sharpe, after vowing to make sure Hakeswill dies this time, does the typical serial adventure thing and leaves him to die, which is of course not the same thing at all and sets it up for the inevitable sequel.

  • Carol Storm
    2019-03-26 03:15

    If you ever get the chance to rent or buy SHARPE'S CHALLENGE on DVD, by all means take it! The story is a combination of all the adventures from SHARPE'S TIGER, SHARPE'S TRIUMPH, and SHARPE'S FORTRESS, plus they throw in a lot more romance and more interesting female characters who aren't in any of the novels. Unfortunately, this last volume (FORTRESS) is probably the least interesting of the three India books. It's not that there's anything wrong with it, it's just that the ending is rather anticlimactic after all the buildup in the two earlier books. Sharpe and Dodd finally come face to face, but their showdown isn't nearly as exciting as it is in the movie. Sharpe runs into Sergeant Hakeswill, again, but the whole thing of Obadiah being beaten over and over and thrown to tigers, elephants, snakes, etc. is becoming almost pointless and silly by this time. Can't take Obadiah seriously as a villain if he keeps coming back from the dead. Says so in scriptures!The one thing that really irritates me about these Sharpe books, as opposed to the TV movies, is the way women are portrayed. Sharpe's love interest in the last book betrays him and runs off the moment his back is turned -- because all pretty women are whores and thieves, doncha know. And then he has a new girl, and they have sex after knowing each other for about three days, and then at the end he passes her along to a buddy of his. Because Sharpe is so generous, and women are really just property to be given other men as proof of Sharpe's nobility, doncha know. The funny thing is, if you watch the movie SHARPE'S CHALLENGE, they add an English girl to the story, a colonel's daughter, and even though she's drop dead gorgeous and in love with Sharpe she's also portrayed as brave, determined, and conscientious. It's not that hard to create attractive women with strong personalities and compelling motivations. It's a basic part of storytelling. Women are just as interesting as men if you know how to write them correctly, Mr. Cornwell.Says so in scriptures!

  • Kate Sherrod
    2019-02-25 06:07

    Very little time has passed since the last of Sharpe's adventures, in which he saved Arthur Wellesley's life and the future Iron Duke made him an officer. As we start this new chapter in his life, Sharpe is getting a foul taste of just how hard it is to be an officer promoted "up from the ranks" in the British army of 1803. He's not of the gentry, so gets no respect from enlisted men or officers, and is coming to regret having tried so hard to get this leg up he's gotten.But soon he's got bigger problems. Because both of his great enemies, the terrifying and capable British deserter Major Dodd, who is killing his way to becoming Lord of All India fighting for the Mahrathas, and the twitching, malevolent Sergeant Hakeswill, who has been trying for two novels now to get Sharpe killed out of sheer spite and hatred. The one has been chased, along with his army and allies, into India's great fortress in the sky, Gawilghur; the other has turned up among the British soldiers trying to solve the puzzle of how to take that impregnable place, destroy the Mahratha army there, and bring Dodd to justice. Oh, my.The star of this novel is definitely the fortress itself, hence the title. Imagine George R.R. Martin's Eyrie, defended by thumping huge cannons and approachable only via a narrow ravine that is basically just a shooting gallery for said cannon. But before you can get to the ravine, you have to pound your way through an outer fort. While the fort's defenders shoot at you with thumping huge cannons.Fortunately for Sharpe and his pals, the walls of these forts are old and ill-maintained. Also, the people in charge within are a cowardly princeling who just wants to be left alone to sport with his wives and concubines, and the enemy rajah's brother, who is quite a capable soldier, but whose faith in his men is so weak that he won't let that splendid attack dog, Dodd, do anything but kick his heels and take the occasional potshot with one of those newfangled rifle thingies. So the British are free to build their road right up to the perfect spot to hammer away at the walls with their cannon, and everybody has enough time on their hands to plot against each other. Because Hakeswill. And his buddy Captain Torrance, who already had it in for Sharpe because Sharpe's first act upon being assigned to help the Captain is to expose the Captain's treachery. D'oh!And I haven't even talked about the treachery among the bad guys. Oh, is it delicious.Bappoo's survivors, betrayed by Dodd, were trapped between two forces. They were stranded in a hell above emptiness, a slaughter in the high hills. There were screams as men tumbled to their deaths far beneath and still the fire kept coming. It kept coming until there was nothing left but quivering men crouching in terror on a road that was rank with the stench of blood, and then the redcoats moved forward with bayonets.Yowza! Betrayal and the Ravine of Death!Again, the tension of whether or not Sharpe is going to survive all of this is robbed of the modern reader who knows he's got a future with a rifle company in Europe, but Cornwell finds plenty of other ways to keep the reader eagerly turning pages. We don't know how Sharpe is going to get out of his own personal very difficult predicaments, just as we don't know (unless we peek at Wikipedia or something) how the hell the British are going to get through the Ravine of Death, or anything else, for that matter. Once again, Cornwell has done a skillful job of combining the exploits of real historical figures (Oh, Colonel Kenny!) with those of his semi-fictional villains (Dodd) and his own characters (Hakeswill, Major John Stokes, Sharpe himself) into something seamless and compulsively readable.Most gratifying to me is the return of Major Stokes, whom you may recall from my last go-around in Sharpe's universe became quite a favorite of mine. Here he's put in charge of building the road that will allow the British to haul their cannons, shot, powder, and selves into attack range and of cobbling together some semblance of defenses for them as they haul. He doesn't get a lot of scenes, but he shines in all his nerdy glory in those he gets, and as one of Sharpe's few allies, quite well deserves to.Also fun is Ahmed, an Arab boy whom Sharpe rescues from the precursor battle that opens the novel and who becomes Sharpe's fanatically loyal servant. Several major plot points revolve around this little hellion, whose command of the King's English improves somewhat over the course of the story but since he's learned it from Sharpe contains rather more "buggers" than a schoolmaster might like.It continues to take almost all the willpower I have not to just plow through all of these Sharpe novels in one swoop. They're wonderfully written, utterly absorbing, thrilling, fun, bloody, character-driven, full of dashing heroics and madcap schemes -- everything I like in a novel. And they keep getting better, these books!But I think if I did just go all Sharpe, all the time, I might end up doing something foolish when I was done. Like joining the army. Which would be pretty stupid. What would they do with a 42-year-old fat chick who can't even shoot straight, I ask you?

  • A Bald Mage** Steve
    2019-03-15 04:18

    I've been meaning to review these for ages, I read all these books a long time ago and I think I would have to re-read them to remember every story line. That's the problem with trying to review books you read over ten years ago. When I read these books it was a happy time for me as I received all the collection including the short stories as a wedding present ten years ago and as I celebrate my tenth anniversary of being married to my beautiful wife, I wanted to save my overall review of the series for this day!I followed Richard Sharpe's adventures from him fighting in India to his final Battle, the Battle of Waterloo, like any series some books are better than others. I must admit some of the later books didn't shine as much as the earlier ones. The series had one of my favourite bad guys that I have ever had the privilege to read about and that was Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill; At times he really got me angry but I just loved the character and when I watched the TV show a few years later the role was played perfectly by Pete Postlethwaite I just hated him!!Overall I loved the series it reminds me of a very happy time in my life!

  • Nancy Ellis
    2019-03-09 05:02

    I love all of Cornwell's books, but I think the Sharpe series is his masterpiece. He has a gift for bringing to life historical events that are so far removed from our reality today that in any other setting they could potentially be labeled as irrelevant. His fictional characters are amazing, and he breathes life into the historical figures. I also appreciate his Historical Notes at the end of each book, where he clarifies exactly how he manipulated the story to make Sharpe the hero and tells the reader the facts of the events. Definitely looking forward to reading the remaining books of the series!

  • Ed
    2019-03-17 01:25

    Third in the "India Trilogy," it has some of the most graphic battle scenes I've ever read. Sharpe continues his charmed life as he struggles with dissension in the ranks, arrogant and incompetent fellow officers and "gentlemen."One of my favorite villains, Sgt. Hakeswell, continues to bedevil Sharpe but Sharpe, as always, overcomes all because he is first and foremost, a "soldier."Fun reading unless you are put off by bloodshed.

  • Rohit Nair
    2019-03-19 00:29

    I liked the book. It describes the conquest on Gwalior fort. Its interesting to see Richard's reaction to various instances that occur in his life and war. Being an Indian there are a few things that i figured that the author got wrong, apart from that the story was interesting. A good historical war fiction! If you are interested in War novels, you should read this one.

  • Deanne
    2019-03-22 02:06

    Once I got about 30 pages in the pace began to pick up. Have a soft spot for Sharpe, though it's probably more to do with the huge crush I have on Sean Bean. Do like the gruff northern accent.As for the book, lots of action with our hero still after Dodd.

  • Caro
    2019-02-26 06:21

    Oh, Sharpe, how do you manage to triumph over such terrible odds every time? Cannot wait to start the next one.

  • Vinothraj J
    2019-03-26 23:21

    This review of Sharpe #3 would be similar to mine of Sharpe #2.Decent pace, military strategy, peripheral sub-plots.I had to skim a bit through the ending fight-scene.

  • David Weinfeld
    2019-03-26 23:04

    Sharpe is one tough customer. He fights to win, no matter who or what gets in his way. Vengeance can be sweet.

  • Riley Feldmann
    2019-03-14 06:21

    After completing the third book (chronologically speaking) in Bernard Cornwell’s “Sharpe” series, I think I’ve finally discovered what it is that keeps me interested in these works: Cornwell has a gift for creating characters with depth in a matter of a few sentences. Each figure, from the protagonist Richard Sharpe down to some passer-by cavalry sergeant, feels real and believable in their own way. No one is perfect, no one is totally cruel (though a certain character or two fits this profile), and everyone is constantly reacting to events in ways that fit with who we’ve come to know them as. You get invested in their fates and so you continue on to the next book, and then the next, and then…In “Sharpe’s Fortress”, we come to the conclusion of the prequel trilogy which follows Richard Sharpe and his role in the British campaigns across India at the turn of the 19th Century. Many of the characters and military units involved are holdovers from the previous novel and so Cornwell dives right into the crux of the issue facing Arthur Wellesely (the future Duke of Wellington): The remaining forces of the Maratha Confederacy are holed up in a seemingly unassailable fortress. Take it and the door to India is wide open for Britain. Lose and there’s a chance the Indians may rally as one to break the nascent foreign yolk over their lands.Of course, that setting mostly serves as the focal point around which everyone rotates. Much of the book is spent following Sharpe as he struggles in finding a place for himself as a newly minted Ensign, dealing with the humiliating assignment of helping run supply wagons to the sieging army, dealing with old and new foes alike, and finally playing a crucial role in the outcome of the campaign.One of the best traits of the book is just how fast moving it is. There are a lot of different sub-plots at play, and yet the story never feels bogged down. When he gets his hands on a suspenseful scene or two, Cornwell delivers and does so emphatically. Take the attack on Gawilghur that Sharpe takes part in: I found my pulse notably quickening, the pages flying by, and my emotions riding the tense atmosphere. You can’t help but feel yourself yearning to cry out when the “good guys” claw victory from the jaws of defeat or doom. The final 30-40 pages alone make this worthwhile reading.Because the books are so short and quickly-paced, though, you do lose some emotional impact or seemingly meaningful moments. Take the death of a close friend of Sharpe’s from the last book: There really isn’t much weight to it besides a few references to “getting revenge”. It really isn’t believable that things would have moved on as quickly as they did, and this is not the lone emotional aspect to the story that falls a little flat. Where Cornwell excels at putting you in the heat of battle he stumbles from time to time when it comes to those crucial passages and pages in between the scenes of gunpowder and fire.If you’ve already read the first two books in the series, I must highly recommend you finish the third, if only for some satisfying bows on troublesome aspects of the plot up until now. And even if you’re getting into the series here, there is certainly enough to keep you hooked and hopefully eager to read the next entry into the series. For all that, I’ll grant Bernard Cornwell’s “Sharpe’s Fortress” a 4/5 stars. Pretty damn good with shortfalls here or there!

  • Jim
    2019-03-05 03:26

    This is the third of Bernard Cornwall's "Sharpe" series, the third and last one to take place in India. Thanks to his defense of General Sir Arthur Wellesley when the general lost his horse and was attacked by a large group of enemy soldiers, Sharpe has been promoted to Ensign and assigned to one of the Scottish brigades in the army. However, he quickly learns that officers promoted up from the ranks are not welcomed by other officers who have purchased their commissions nor or they accepted readily by enlisted men who were only the day before their fellow soldiers.Sharpe finds himself moved from one assignment to another. He also finds himself still plagued by Colonel William Dodd, a defector from the British East India Company's ranks and also by Sgt Obadiah Hikeswell, a conniving and thieving scoundrel who has been Sharpe's personal enemy for the last four years.Ultimately, this is the story of the battle of the Fortress of Gawhilghur in December, 1803. The fortress sits on high bluffs overlooking the Deccan plain and has a well deserved reputation for never having been taken by an opposing army. Both Sharpe and General Sir Wellesley face their greatest challenges in this epic battle.Once again, Cornwell demonstrates his extensive skills in weaving fiction with a lot of fact to make a very exciting story. Cornwall's descriptions of the fighting, of the battles are brutally frank and ghastly horrid - as war is. This book is not for the squeamish. It describes war as war is with all of the blood and gore that is involved.

  • Jules
    2019-02-25 23:24

    2.75 starsI am a big fan of Cornwell's writing for some good, rompy historical-fiction fun. However, the third novel in the Sharpe series (chronologically) is weaker than I'm used to from Cornwell. While still enjoyable and serving the purpose I selected it for (some give-me-a-break-and-let-me-have-some-fun reading), it didn't quite deliver in the thing I find Cornwell most interesting for: complete control of the battlefield and taking the reader along with him.Sharpe is not a 'nice' character, and even less so in this book, in which he goes on a killing spree for revenge. I did sometimes have trouble following his judgements though, and which that in some instances more space would have been given over to the narrator exploring the title character's head space and using his eyes to see the battle.In fact, the book suffered a little from an over-abundance of focalisers, which is what made it difficult to really follow what was happening. Occasionally focalisation switches would occur from one paragraph to the next, with several in one section or chapter. They were also lacking depth due to this; Clare Wall and Ahmed could have been interesting characters, but really just served the shallow purpose of quick shag and random Indian boy who switches allegiance to Sharpe for no conceivable reason.The historical detail is, as ever, enticing, and you can feel the sun beating down on you - that has not changed. The horror of battle is incredibly vividly drawn and you can feel the trepidation the troops must have felt when looking at and facing the fortress of Gawilghur.This is the last book in the Indian trilogy, so I do hope Cornwell will be back to his usual quality.

  • Christine
    2019-03-19 02:30

    You know, I really like these books. I am fascinated by history and especially the history of war. The Sharpe series never disappoints in its accuracy and attention to detail. Cornwall's hero is realistic, lovable but flawed. I have read the two previous books in the series and though I really enjoyed them, I found that I sometimes got bogged down in all the technical details. I did not have that reaction to this book. I kept reading at a furious pace, and finished much more quickly than I anticipated. I don't know if that is because this one was simply faster-paced or if I have adjusted to Cornwell's writing style. These books are great. Though Sharpe is a bit of a Bond, he is still flawed and I love that he is so good at what he does. It just makes me like him more. I wouldn't recommend these books to everyone. You have to like war and history and a good adventure story. There is romance here, but its mostly side-lined. There is no existential crisis (thank God), and no hero struggling to find his moral compass, just a guy trying to prove to himself and everyone else that he should be given a chance. Along the way he interacts with people who really existed and really did the things that they do in the book, and well, I think that is just cool. This is a fun read, interesting, bloody and real but still light-hearted. And sometimes, that's just want I need.

  • Mountain343
    2019-03-02 06:31

    Never has a character so vile, so evil, so putrid ever been put onto page as that of Obadiah Hakeswill. If not for his elements to the story, I probably would have finished this book in hours vs the few days it did take, as there were times where I simply had to put the book down and walk away. Once again, like the other two books in the Sharpe's India series, it was a great read focused on a particular series of battles and gave a great insight into what warfare during that time would have been like. The cast of characters around Sharpe were plentiful and enjoyable, and it definitely doesn't suffer from any lulls or parts you just wish to skip.Good read all the way through!

  • Janice
    2019-03-08 00:11

    I continue to be a little mystified as to why I enjoy this series so much. I enjoy historical fiction in general, but this isn't a time period / place that I'm normally interested in. But these are so well done, and seem to stay as close to "truth" as can be managed within the framework of a novel, giving a good sense of the time and place. And the awful, bloody, bloody work of siege warfare. I also like that the historical notes at the end are concise, while still letting you know what's not actual history. Looking forward to the next one where Sharpe goes to sea!

  • Hollie Beg
    2019-02-27 04:13

    I think I’m done with the Sharpe series. 99% of the characters are white men; men of color are almost always The Enemy; women are treated not only as lesser beings but as actual loot. And whileSharpe himself has been flawed but likeable in the previous books, he ceases to be likeable in this one, and not even Sean Bean can save him. I think I’m done.

  • Jason , etc.
    2019-02-25 05:15

    Another great chapter in the Sharpe's series. It isn't just Cornwell's ability to tell an exceptionally good story; it's also that Sharpe's more heroic exploits continue to be based on historical reality (i.e., a Scottish Captain from the 94th Regiment), making these books the best kind of historical fiction.

  • Billy Roper
    2019-03-21 04:17

    My only regret, as with all of Cornwell's books I read, is that I didn't start with the first in the series, but I'll read the rest of them, now. His research makes history come alive and reminds his readers that people have always been people, then and now. I learned more about pre-Napoleonic War colonial India from this book than I did in grad school, and enjoyed it more, too.

  • Carolyn R. Bradley
    2019-03-12 23:03

    The main character was interesting and brought to life but there was far too much blood and gore and description of battles became a little tedious at times. I found myself turning over pages of detail so as to get back to the storyline.

  • Brendan
    2019-02-28 01:24

    absoutly fantastic. it is arguably the best book i have read to date. It is action packed brutal and based on fact. From what i have heard the rest of the books in the series are as good or if not better so i can't wait to get through them.

  • Honza Prchal
    2019-03-11 04:20

    Perhaps my favourite Sharpe novel because it was so sad.Bloody, brutal, and bloody brilliant.